New Application for HOA Management Company

How Brocoders helped build an application that allows homeowners and community residents to interact with their property owner’s association. As a result, the company reduced staff workload and improved the overall client experience.

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Our client

C.I.A.Services is a full-service company for homeowners associations based in the USA. It has around 150 clients and successfully manages more than 50,000 properties in Houston and San Antonio areas. For more than 30 years, C.I.A.Services has been providing community association management services across the United States. As the company moved towards digital operations, a major issue emerged: property owners were unable to access information from the legacy property management system without assistance from employees, adding to the workload of the company's staff. To solve this problem, C.I.A.Services decided to create an app that allows homeowners and community residents to interact with their property owner’s association. The company partnered with Brocoders to build it. We enhanced the legacy property management system to deliver new experiences for owners and residents using a progressive web application, which resulted in a reduced workload for support managers and a more positive client experience.

Inconvenience and inefficiency in property management: Legacy software needed to be updated

When C.I.A.Services turned to Brocoders, they already had proprietary software to manage property owner’s associations. But this system was only available to the company’s employees. Each time a property owner needed an invoice or payment plan, they had to wait for an employee to manually deliver it by mail, email, or fax. Since the system was inconvenient and outdated, the company made a decision to update its software. Another problem was that most owners could receive their property information only via mail, which resulted in significant additional costs for the company. That’s why, by modernizing the system, C.I.A.Services also aimed to help homeowners move their property-related operations online, while reducing the company’s expenses on mail correspondence.

The lack of expertise to build a consumer-facing application

In 2021, C.I.A. Services partnered with a third-party developer to enhance their existing system and extend it through an API. With this integration, C.I.A. Services could offer a better user experience for both employees and homeowners by pulling data from the backend via API. However, the developer company that C.I.A services collaborated with didn't have the expertise needed to build a consumer-facing app – so president and CEO Ralph Troiano reached out to Brocoders for help!

Brocoders to the rescue: we had what they needed

The client approached us with an idea to build a PWA ‒ a hybrid web application that looks and operates like a mobile app, with a close-to-native experience. It is fast, reliable, and secure. Furthermore, users can launch a progressive web app on any device without having to download it from the dedicated app store. Our team fully supported this ideasince developing a PWA was a perfect solution to implement the required functionality while satisfying the client’s requirements.

Building a secure, efficient, and intuitive Progressive Web App

To bring new experiences to property owners and residents, and ease the workload on employees, Brocoders developed an app with an intuitive design available on desktop and mobile devices. To implement features following the app specifications, we needed API data, so we worked closely with our client's backend developer. Additionally, we added new user roles with different access rights to protect confidential information.

Appealing and straightforward UI/UX design

To build a customer-facing app, our team started the project by working on the solution’s interface. We created designs, showed them to the client, and performed user testing with the client’s representative. Based on the user’s feedback, we made decisions regarding what changes should be made to meet the client’s requirements, and iteratively agreed on the final version. To make it easier to access community information and property data, Brocoders created a modern and appealing interface, easy to use and navigate. For instance, when logging in to their account, a property owner or resident can register for a community event like a garage sale, vote for candidates to the Board of Directors, read current community news, and view planned events in the calendar. The app also gives users access to community information like facilities and services, plus property data including financial information, compliance issues, and improvement applications.

API evaluation and improvements

When the design was approved, we proceeded to the next stage. Since we were building a PWA, we had to make sure that the website’s API endpoints supported our requirements. We detected issues with API endpoints that made it impossible to build specific functionality on our part. For instance, news articles on the website didn’t have individual identifiers so we could filter them and show a homeowner only news pieces related to his or her association. That’s why we contacted the developer and asked to make some improvements to the API.

Varying access rights to secure sensitive information

To protect users’ information and reduce security risks, we created different user roles with varying access rights. Owners have access to their account information, while multi-lot owners can view data from all their accounts. Apart from access rights as an owner, board members can access some confidential information for their community and employees can view all information for all client communities.

Deploying the app on Microsoft Azure

For the client's system to run on Microsoft Azure, we had to deploy the app on that platform. First, we created a staging environment on AWS to ensure the software satisfied project requirements and worked as expected. Then we worked closely with the third-party developer to resolve issues on Microsoft Azure and released the application.

Results: Better experiences for users, higher efficiency for company employees, reduced costs for the business

By helping C.I.A.Services create a convenient app, we improved customer service and reduced employee workload. Users can access information without involving employees and the company can handle more clients without hiring new staff – all while saving money on app development.

Improved customer service

Designing an appealing and convenient application, we helped C.I.A.Services improve its customer service, which led to more clients using the app.

Decreased workload for support managers

The solution we developed allows users to get the information they need without involving employees or company managers. The software decreases time spent on manual tasks, such as sending emails to owners and residents or calling them by phone and does not overburden the company’s employees. This way, C.I.A.Services can smoothly handle the growing number of new users and grow their client portfolio without hiring new employees and increasing expenses.

Cost-effective development approach

In addition to delivering new experiences to property owners and decreasing employees' workload, Brocoders extended the capabilities of their system's API. What's more, as we chose to build a progressive web app (PWA), our client got a solution that reaches users across various platforms and costs less than native development.

“I am very excited and thankful for the accomplished work. It was great to work with a so professional and well-organized team. All tasks were delivered on time and were well-tested by QA specialists and our users. Reddog backend isn’t ready for all functionality we need, so after finishing it, we return to work on this project with Brocoders and release the full version to production.”

Ralph Troiano
President & CEO of C.I.A.Services

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